Josh and I have been in a season in our lives of what almost seems like continual fasting. God has just called us to fast like never before. At the beginning of the year we fasted together for 21 days seeking God's will and provision in a variety of areas, but particularly for our church and ministry. We were blown away at the way God answered prayers and the way He spoke to our hearts during that time.
When I'm on a fast, I love to go back to Isaiah 58 and study what true fasting is. Listen to what verse 7 says, "Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter...?" The first time this verse really hit home with me was over a year ago when I was on a 3 day total fast. I realized that I was missing the mark in this area. I was doing without food, but I wasn't meeting the needs of anyone else. So I began to pray and ask the Lord to show me who to help during times I am fasting. I began a fast about 2 weeks ago, and it was amazing to me the opportunities that came to "feed the hungry." Something I learned was that I didn't have to go search for a homeless person to feed. Feeding the hungry may mean picking up a college student's ticket when we are out with a group. It may mean just sharing leftover soup with friends who might need the help with their groceries that week. If I can say this without sounding trite, I was impressed by God. I was really impressed. Every time I turned around there was someone that I could sense had a need that I could meet by giving them the food I couldn't eat. What's even more amazing is for every time I gave a meal away, I found myself blessed in some way with a meal that was even appropriate for the Daniel fast.
Well, I don't want to take too long there even though I could talk a while about God's provision, because I really want to share this story about a woman God led to me while fasting. I had gone to the LSU hospital to visit Ashleigh. When I left, I thought I would try a different route home. I barely stopped at a traffic light when an elderly black woman approached my van a little too agressively for my comfort level. With my 1 and 3 year old in the back seat, I cautiously roll down the window to see what she needs. She proceeds to beg for help, tells me her son is in prison, and she has no one to help her. As the light is turning green, cars are impatient behind me, and I'm explaining to her that all I have is a checkbook, she asks for me to take her to Burger King. Against my better judgment (from my earthly perspective) I unlock the van and let her in. On our way to Burger King, she tells me "I don't like no Burger King. That's all they ever want to give me is that ole Burger King. I wish I could have me some chicken. I don't like them ole burgers." So, I resolve to take her to Raising Cane's. In my spirit, I'm asking God if I've done the right thing. It's one of those moments when I'm wondering God is this you, or did I just pull something really crazy! A part of me wants to be the hands of feet of Jesus, while a part of me isn't sure if she has a gun in her purse, or an angry relative hiding out somewhere to do harm. Ever been there?
After we went through the drive thru at Cane's, she needed to go in a liqour store to pay money she owed. Once again, against my better (earthly) judgement I dropped her off and pulled as close to the street as I could get to wait for her. While she was in the store, Kylee asked, "Mommy, what are we doing?" I got to tell my little girl we were being Jesus for someone who needed him. When she walked out of the liqour store, she didn't find our van at first since I had pulled up a little. I still had her food sitting in my front seat. I watched as she frantically searched and asked a couple of people and then resolved with, "Well, I guess she must of left." It was as if her life depended on my being there with that simple meal of chicken, bread, & fries. My heart sank for the woman, but mainly it sank because all I could think of earlier was the safety of my family. Jesus simply asked me to be his hands and feet. I simply rolled down the passenger window and yelled out, "Ma'am.." Her entire countenance lifted and she got so excited that I hadn't driven off; that she was valuable enough for some complete stranger to take the time to wait to drive her home. When we got to her place, she stopped before getting out, and thanked me as if I had saved her very life. She held my hand, and prayed this simple prayer: "Now Lord, you know I got the problem with the liqour Lord. But you sent this woman. This young, pretty, white woman to buy my lunch today. And I thank ya Lord. Amen."
Needless to say, I didn't take that alternative route home. I decided to go interstate. Even though I was trembling from relief that nothing went terribly wrong, my heart was so glad I was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and didn't turn that precious woman away. I got to tell her that God loves her. Really loves her. And I pray that she walked into her house that day with a new sense of value.